FAQs – click the question for the explanation.
How do I know if the death has occurred?
A competent person would confirm that death has occurred.
Does the body need to be moved by a funeral director?
Generally speaking it’s most practical if the appointed funeral directors’ staff does this task.
When can we call for removal of the body?
Our telephone lines are open 24-hours to take calls for removals once the Dr has been to certify the deceased or given his permission to remove.
What do I do next?
Make an appointment to see your funeral director to discuss the next steps. All necessary documentation and actions will be explained in full by your funeral advisor.
Where is the body kept once it has been moved?
The body will be kept in our mortuary until it has been prepared for the chapel of rest.
What do I need to know in times of bereavement?
If the death has occurred at home, inform the doctor as soon as possible. The GP may write out the Medical Certificate of death, or he/she may ask that you attend the surgery for this purpose. This will be required to complete the registration of death with the Registrar.
When is the Coroner required?
In cases when the death has been reported to the Coroner the procedure is somewhat different. The Coroner and his officers are working in your interest. No doctor will issue a Medical Certificate of Death. This will be sent by the Coroner to the Registrar’s Office in the district where the death occurred, after contact has been made with the Coroner’s office.
Who can register a death?
A close relative of the deceased, relative in attendance during last illness, or a relative living in the district where the death occurred. A person present at death or the person dealing with the disposal.
What information is required to register a death?
• Date and place of death
• Full name of deceased (maiden name if applicable)
• Date and place of birth
• Occupation and home address
• If married, full name and occupation of surviving spouse.
What documents are required to register a death?
• Medical certificate of death
• Medical card if available
• Birth certificate
• Disposal certificate (Green certificate) for the Funeral Director
• National insurance card
Where do I collect the medical certificate of the cause of death?
The GP will either give this to you directly or you may need to collect it from the surgery. If the death occurred in a hospital you will be given the certificate by the hospital.
Where do I register the death?
The death will need to be registered in the area where the death occurred, even if the death occurred a distance from home. The hospital and/or the Funeral Director will be able to advise you on this.
How many copies of the Registrar’s certificate will I need?
The Registrar will issue you with one copy. You will usually need another 4-5 copies of this Green certificate to be able to send to the bank, solicitors etc. for which there will be a charge by the Registrar.
When do I have to register by?
Deaths in England and Wales or Northern Ireland should be registered within 5 days (or make an appointment). If this is not going to be possible, you should inform the Registrar. In Scotland, deaths must be registered within 8 days.
How soon can the funeral take place?
It is best to allow about 7 days, depending on the paperwork required, however the funeral director will advise and be able to give more specific guidance on timings including availability at the Crematorium, Cemetery or Church and other associated services.
What is a chapel of rest?
The chapel of rest allows families to pay their respects to the deceased privately. At ER Hickmott and Son we have two large rooms available for viewings.
Can I bring in clothing for the deceased to be dressed in?
Yes you can, however certain materials are restricted.
Am I able to put personal items into the coffin?
Yes, you can put personal items in the coffin, however certain items are not allowed, for example batteries.
Must I have a religious ceremony?
No. Most funerals in the UK follow traditional religious practices with a typical service taking approx. 20-30 minutes. In some cases this may extend to over an hour. However there is also the option of a secular service which would include poetry, music and an appreciation of the deceased’s life. We are able to arrange an officiant for you.
What is embalming?
It is an invasive preservation technique that involves introducing a chemical preservative through the vascular system. We only suggest this option when a body is to be kept for some time, exported by air or the coffin is to be opened during a church service.
British Institute of Embalmers
Burial or Cremation?
In the UK about 75% of funerals involve cremation. Cremation is generally cheaper. Cremations are carried out one at a time and the ashes (called cremated remains) which consists of the ash which remains after cremation. The main crematorium in the Tunbridge Wells area requires approximately 4 hours completing the process.
What happens to the ashes?
Cremated remains can be placed in the Garden of Remembrance at the crematorium, strewn (poured under a turf), buried loose or in an urn or casket in a grave or taken away by the family.
Source : Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management
How soon can I collect the cremated remains after the funeral?
You are able to collect the cremated remains the next working day, following the funeral. It is sometimes possible to have them back on the same day of the funeral as long as the service takes place first thing in the morning.
Is the coffin cremated with the deceased?
Yes. Once the coffin has left the funeral directors the deceased cannot be removed from it.
How do I know that the cremated remains I receive back are those of my loved ones?
The cremation process is governed by strict rules and regulations. The crematorium authorities take great care to ensure that every individual cremation is kept completely separate.
Can members of the family bear the coffin?
Most definitely, your funeral director would give a quick briefing to ensure that all are prepared and we will be on hand to help at all times with carrying the coffin.
Is there any other mode of transportation apart from the hearse to carry the coffin?
We can accommodate most requests for funeral transportation as long as they are safe. Speak to your funeral Director about your choice of transport. We can organise horse-drawn hearses and carriages, limousines and general cars.
How much will the funeral cost?
There are several factors that determine the funeral cost e.g. style of funeral, choice of coffin, number of limousines required, etc. we will provide you with an itemised estimate of funeral costs.
What Are the Basic Funeral Costs Involved?
• Funeral arrangements and carrying out the funeral (including transportation for the family)
• Securing the necessary permits and copies of death certificates
• Fees and disbursements (Coordinating arrangements with a cemetery, crematorium or other
• Discretionary extras include: Floral tributes, newspaper notices, service sheets, etc.
How do I pay?
We may request a deposit to cover the disbursements (e.g. clergy, cemetery, crematorium fees) and up to half of the funeral director's fees. An itemised invoice is sent out after the funeral for the balance to be settled. Payment is made by cheque or debit / credit card.
What if I cannot pay?
If you are having trouble paying for a funeral that you have to arrange, you may be able to get assistance to help you with the cost, however it is not a set figure as each case is looked at individually.
Department for Works and Pensions - Funeral Payments
Can I See a Price List Before Making Any Decisions?
If you ask about final arrangements in person, we will give you a written general price list that you can keep, itemising the range of costs of the goods and services offered. Before you look at any caskets or coffins be sure you have seen a price list with specific prices for each item. Generally speaking it is best to arrange an appointment to meet one of the advisors and they will guide you on the best options and explain how the costs apply.
When can we arrange a floral tribute?
Once date and time of funeral is fixed the floral delivery can be scheduled. Any request for flowers are referred to various florists to work in conjunction with us for the delivery of wreaths and coffin sprays. Whether you’re looking for funeral or sympathy flowers, the florist can help you to create the perfect floral tribute. In accordance with family wishes donations may be specified in preference to floral tributes.
How Long Have You Been in Business?
ER Hickmott & Son has been in the funeral business for over 160 years, a family firm that is the oldest established company in Tunbridge Wells, owned and run by the same family. A funeral director that has been in business for a long time is usually more able to provide a dependable service.
What Memberships and Licences Do You and Your Staff Members Maintain?
• National Association of Funeral Directors
• Society of Allied & Independent Funeral Directors
• British Institute of Funeral Directors
• Members of Golden Charter (for prepayments of funerals)
• Guild of Master Craftsmen